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Neural reuse in the functional organization of the brain (talk recording available)
Dr. Michael Anderson
Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 01:00pm - 02:00pm
Franklin and Marshall College, Department of Psychology; Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland
20 years after the birth of neuroimaging, we have the excitingopportunity to review the accumulated evidence, and revisit somefundamental assumptions about the functional organization of thebrain. The current talk will focus on the issue of selectivity, andpresent evidence suggesting that local neural circuits are in factused to support multiple tasks across diverse task categories-but thatthey cooperate with different neural partners in each category.Overall, the imaging data suggest a story about the evolution anddevelopment of the brain whereby new function emerges via the reuseand reconfiguration of existing neural machinery, leaving existinguses largely intact. In addition to reviewing the evidence fromneuroimaging, I will discuss in some detail one specific instance ofapparent reuse: the involvement of a local neural circuit in fingerawareness, number representation, and other diverse functions.Specific implications for numerical cognition, and generalimplications for anatomical and functional modularity, will beconsidered.